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Thousands expected at polls

Thousands of voters are expected to head to the polls in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties Tuesday to cast their votes in the general election.

As of Friday afternoon, 66 percent of registered voters in Tuolumne County and 67 percent in Calaveras County had not yet voted, according to elections officials. 

The Tuolumne County Elections Office sent out mail-in ballots to about 23,000 of the 31,769 registered voters in the county, and 10,800 of the ballots were returned by Friday afternoon, according to County Clerk and Auditor-Controller Debi Russell Bautista. 

The Calaveras County Elections Office sent out mail-in ballots to 19,082 of the 29,009 registered voters in the county, and 9,460 had been returned as of Friday afternoon, according to County Clerk-Recorder Madeline Krska. 

When mail-in ballots were sent out in mid-October, county elections offices anticipated that about 70 percent of registered voters in Tuolumne County and about 62 percent of registered voters in Calaveras County would vote by mail this election, following a national trend of absentee voting. 

Voters who have not yet returned their mail-in ballots can drop them off at the elections offices today or at polling sites tomorrow. 

Both Russell Bautista and Krska discourage voters from mailing their absentee ballots at this point because the elections offices must receive them by 8 p.m. Tuesday to count them. Ballots postmarked by Tuesday but not received by 8 p.m. will not be exempt from the deadline. 

From 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day, 28 polling places will be open in Tuolumne and 19 in Calaveras, including the elections offices.

Tuolumne polling places can be found at www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov or by calling the Elections Office at 533-5570. A list was also included with absentee ballots.

Calaveras polling places can be found at www.clerk.calaverasgov.us or by calling 754-6376.

Russell Bautista anticipates that lines at polling locations will be the longest early in the morning before people leave for work and as the work day ends. 

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